This book is not for everyone. It is not for those who are comfortable with business-as-usual church, for those who think that programs and theories will fix declining congregations. Becoming a Blessed Church is for those Christians who idealistically believe that the Trinitarian God has something to do with our lives— those who seek the Creator’s purposes, who hunger for Jesus’ presence, and who know that the Spirit’s power alone can save and heal the world. In these pages, Graham Standish points the way of hope, opening the possibility that a church can be blessed and offer blessing through deceptively simple acts of faith and trust that can nurture wise, authentic, discerning, and loving spiritual communities.
(Diana Butler Bass, Author, "Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community" and "The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church")Graham Standish has cultivated a church with vibrant purpose, contagious presence, and compassionate power. Now he invites us not to copy it, but to create a culture of discernment in the context of our own communities.
(Kent Ira Groff, Founding Mentor, Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania)Graham Standish and the people of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania, have together discovered something most mainline congregations don’t know: how to create a church that is open at its foundations to God’s purpose, presence, and power. Standish shows us how a church can become spiritually deep and both inwardly and outwardly healthy on every level, how God’s blessings can flow through everything the church does, and how members can actually experience and encounter God. His vision for churches is exciting and compelling, and congregations that dare to discover this path Standish believes God is calling them to walk will be truly blessed!
(Walter Kallestad, Senior Pastor, Community Church of Joy, Glendale, Arizona)I am deeply grateful to Graham Standish for his thoughtful, practical, and inspiring masterpiece, Becoming a Blessed Church. Now, if anyone asks me to recommend one book that a church's leaders could read together to help them envision a better, more vibrant future, this is where I'll point them. He presents a vision that is accessible to and legitimate for churches across the spectrum because it gets beyond old polarities—evangelical, mainline, traditional, contemporary, etc.—and leads to a better, richer, more fruitful path.
(Brian McLaren, author/speaker, brianmclaren.net)
About the Author
The Rev. N. Graham Standish is pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania. He is the author of three previous books on spirituality and is a therapist, retreat leader, teacher, and an adult adjunct faculty member at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He holds a Ph.D. in spiritual formation.